Newton’s stu­dents need adult men­tors

The Covington News - - The Second Front - By Gabriel Khouli gkhouli@cov­news.com

Micah Wil­liams teaches chil­dren courage, dis­ci­pline and re­spect as a karate sen­sei. Many of the teenagers who need those lessons the most, are the ones who will never en­ter Wil­liams’ stu­dio, which is why he’s con­sid­er­ing be­com­ing a men­tor to a stu­dent in the Newton County School Sys­tem.

Wil­liams was one of sev­eral peo­ple who at­tended a Thurs­day evening re­cep­tion for Newton Men­tor­ing, a non-profit group that matches adult men­tors with stu­dents who are strug­gling aca­dem­i­cally or emo­tion­ally.

Mar­garet Washington, di­rec­tor of Newton Men­tor­ing, said she needs male men­tors in par­tic­u­lar be­cause more and more young men are grow­ing up with­out a fa­ther fig­ure. The pres­ence of a strong male role model is one of the most re­li­able pre­dic­tors of whether a boy will suc­ceed in high school. In ad­di­tion, boys are more likely to suf­fer from learn­ing dis­or­ders, abuse il­le­gal sub­stances and com­mit crimes.

Be­ing a men­tor only re­quires adults to give up one hour of their time per week. The idea is to cre­ate a sta­ble, weekly rou­tine in a child’s life. Men­tors must also com­plete an ap­pli­ca­tion, sub­mit to and pass a back­ground check and at­tend a twohour train­ing ses­sion.

Newton Men­tor­ing cur­rently has about 88 men­tors who are help­ing stu­dents in 14 Newton County schools. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Washington at new­ton­men­tor@ya­hoo.com or 678-381-7948, or visit the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site at new­ton­men­tor­ing.org.

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